Racism in American History X
“Get the fuck out of my house!” exclaims Derek as he pulls down his wife-beater to reveal a swastika tattoo, “See this? That means not welcome.” American History X, directed by Tony Kaye, is a movie about the transformation of Derek Vinyard: a young neo-Nazi skinhead. Derek’s father, Dennis Vinyard, was a middle-class fireman who disagreed with many of the ideological changes–such as affirmative “black” action–happening in America at the time. His father died while trying to put out a fire in a minority community. Derek essentially put the blame on the minorities for his father’s death as he says in the news interview: “Decent hard working Americans like my dad are getting rubbed out by these social parasites”. The death of a loved one is never an easy thing to go through. Derek felt that somebody else was responsible for the death other than his father. From then on this racist ideology stuck with Derek until his eventual murder of two black thugs, which got him sent to jail for three years. During the second dinner scene before the murder, the family argues about the recent Rodney King incident. In the argument, Derek’s close-minded ideology and oversimplification of the issue leads him to commit several logical fallacies, such as double standard, false dilemma, and red herring. Derek uses the double standard fallacy extensively throughout this scene. His ideology plays a major role in his reasoning: “That’s crap. I don’t buy that for a minute… the fact that these people ripped off the stores in their own communities–all that reflects is that these people absolutely have no respect for the law at all and certainly no concept of community or civic responsibility” Derek begins by poisoning the well. He exclaims that the previous point made by Murray was “crap”. Derek sees minorities as having no respect because they ripped off their own kind and seemingly explains that the reason these people commit these crimes is...
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